Facts That Matter 

Though Vietnam achieved nominal independence before India in 1945, it took three decades to achieve Republic status.

Nationalism emerged in colonial Indo-China.

Emerging from the Shadow of China

Indo-China is modern-day Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Colonial Domination and Resistance

  1. The French colonialism of Vietnam drove the Vietnamese people into conflict with the colonisers in practically every facet of life.
  2. French forces arrived in Vietnam in 1858 and gained dominance over the northern area by the mid-1880s.
  3. Following the Franco-Chinese war, Tonkin and Anaam were annexed by France, and in 1887, French Indo-China was founded.
  4. Slowly but slowly, the Nationalist resistance arose among the Vietnamese people.

Why the French thought Colonies Necessary

Colonies were considered necessary for the provision of natural resources and other necessities. France believed that it was the European nations’ responsibility to transmit the advantages of civilization to backward people.

The French began constructing canals and draining land in the Mekong delta to increase farming in order to extend their territory. The development of a trans-Inda-China rail network connecting northern and southern Vietnam was also begun.

The French also constructed a second railway from Vietnam to Siam (modern Thailand) through Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.

Should Colonies be developed?

Paul Bernard, a writer and politician, thought that the colonies’ economies need development.

Indentured Vietnamese labour was extensively exploited in the colonial economy of Vietnam, which was centred mostly on rice production and rubber plantations.

The Dilemma of Colonial Education

French colonial expansion was likewise motivated by the concept of a ‘civilising mission.’ The French, like the British in India, desired to introduce modern civilization to the Vietnamese. The French sought to eradicate indigenous cultures, faiths, and customs. They want to educate the ‘native’ in order to civilise them.

Taking Modern

The French were confronted with another educational problem. In Vietnam, the elites were inspired by Chinese culture. To counter Chinese influence, the French built French-language schools for Vietnamese children. Vietnamese will be taught in lower grades, whereas French will be taught in upper grades.

School texts extolled the virtues of the French and justified colonial control, while portraying the Vietnamese as primitive and backward, capable only of physical labour. Children were taught at school that only French control could secure Vietnam’s peace.

Looking Modern

The Tonkin Free School was founded in 1907 to offer Vietnamese students with a western-style education. Numerous Vietnamese instructors and students spoke out.

Resistance in Schools

In 1926, at the Saigon Native Girls School, a big controversy occurred when a Vietnamese girl seated in one of the front seats was requested to evacuate the seat for a local French student and refused.

Throughout the colonial period, students struggled against the colonial government’s attempts to keep the Vietnamese from out white-collar occupations. Thus, schools became a focal point for political and cultural conflicts.

Hygiene, Disease and Everyday Resistance

In several other institutions, the colonists expressed their rage against the colonisers in a variety of ways.

Plague Strikes Hanoi

When the French went on rebuilding modern Vietnam, they chose Hanoi as their starting point. In 1903, the present section of Hanoi was infected with bubonic plague.

The French section of Hanoi was designed as a clean city with a well-developed sewer system, but the ‘native quarter’ lacked contemporary facilities.

The enormous sewers in the modern section of the city offered an excellent and protected breeding ground for rats.

The Rat Hunt

In 1902, a rat hunt was started. The French used Vietnamese labourers and paid them for each rat captured. Thousands of rats started to be trapped.

The reward was paid when a rat’s tail was shown as evidence of catch. Indeed, some individuals started raising rats in order to receive a bounty.

The rat-catchers’ acts exemplify numerous little ways in which colonialism was challenged in daily life.

Religion and Anti-Colonialism

  1. Religion was critical in uniting Vietnamese against colonial rule. Vietnam’s religion was a synthesis of Buddhism, Confucianism, and local customs. The French missionaries brought Christianity to the Vietnamese and attempted to convert them.
  2. In 1868, the Scholars’ Revolt began in opposition to French rule and the introduction of Christianity. It was headed by imperial court officials who were angered by Catholicism’s growth and French influence.
  3. Another organisation, dubbed the Hoa Hao Movement, was founded in 1939 in the lush Mekong Delta region by Huynh Phu So.

The vision of Modernisation

  1. Resistance against French dominance in the late nineteenth century was often led by Confucian scholar-activists.
  2. Phan Boi Chau (1867-1940) was a pivotal player in the anti-colonial resistance movement from the moment he founded the Revolutionary Society (Duy Tan Hoi) in 1903 under the leadership of Prince Cuong De.
  3. Phan Chu Trinh (1871–1926) was not the same as Phan Boi Chau. He was opposed to the notion of opposing the French with the assistance of the court.

Other ways of Becoming Modern: Japan and China

The ‘Go East Movement’ gained popularity throughout the first decade of the twentieth century. Between 1907 and 1908, over 300 Vietnamese students travelled to Japan to get a modern education.

In 1911, Vietnamese nationalists overthrew China’s emperor and founded a republic. These students formed a chapter of the Restoration Society in Tokyo to achieve the same goal, but they were deported and sent back to China and Thailand.

The Communist movement and Vietnamese Nationalism

  1. The Great Depression of the 1930s had a profound effect on Vietnam.
  2. Ho Chi Minh was elected Chairman of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
  3. In 1940, Japan invaded Vietnam in order to gain control of Southeast Asia.

The New Republic of Vietnam

The new republic encountered a lot of difficulties. The French attempted to reclaim authority by using the emperor, Bao Dai, as a puppet. They succeeded in driving Vietminh into the hills.

Soon after, the Bao Dai administration was deposed in a coup headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. The National Liberation Front (NLF) fought for the country’s unity with the assistance of the Ho Chi Minh government in the north.

The Entry of the US into the War

US involvement in the war had a detrimental effect on both the Vietnamese and the Americans. The conflict had an influence on the United States as well. The poor working class youth were enraged at being forced to serve in the armed forces.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail

The Ho Chi Minh trail is the narrative of how the Vietnamese made the most of their limited resources in their war against the US. The majority of the path passed through neighbouring Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam.

The US attempted to bomb this path on a regular basis but failed since it was rapidly repaired.

The Nation and Its Heroes

Vietnamese women were important in the anti-imperialist movement. They fought and worked as warriors and labourers. They aided in the care of the injured, assisted in the construction of underground rooms and tunnels, and fought the enemy.

Women as Rebels

As the nationalist movement grew, a new vision of womanhood formed. Writers and political theorists started romanticising women who defied societal norms.

Heroes of Past Times

Historically, rebel women were also praised. Phan Soi Chau, a nationalist, composed a drama in 1913 based on the life of the Trung sisters, who struggled against Chinese dominance.

He portrayed these sisters as patriots trying to liberate the Vietnamese country from the Chinese in this drama.

Women as Warriors

In the 1960s, women were represented in magazines and journals as youthful, brave, and determined. They enlisted in the army and gained the ability to carry a rifle.

Women in Times of Peace

By the 1970s, as the peace process progressed, the idea of women as labourers began to take hold. Rather than fighting, they worked in agricultural cooperatives, factories, and manufacturing units.

The End of the War

A peace settlement was signed in Paris in 1974, ending the War with the US, although fighting between the Saigon administration and the NLF continued. In 1975, the NLF captured Saigon’s presidential palace and united Vietnam.

Here you will learn the basics of The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China in a simple language it is for CBSE English medium students who are studying under Central Board of Secondary Education following NCERT textbook and curriculum for class 10 here you will find all the necessary and important definitions notes suggestion solved question paper sample papers with video lectures made by expert teachers

CBSE Class 10 History notes Chapter 2 – The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China are one of the most effective strategies to study for the test. CBSE Class 10 History notes are simply written by subject experts to make sure that students understand each idea easily and remember it for a longer period of time.

NCERT Solved Question Answer CBSE Class 10 History Chapter 02 – The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China

Question 1. Write a note on :

(a) What was meant by the ‘civilising mission’ of the colonisers?

(b) Huynh Phu So.

Answer :

  • The French, like the British in India, said they were giving the Vietnamese a modern way of life. They thought that Europe was the most advanced civilization. Because of this, it fell to the Europeans to bring modern ideas to their colonies.
  • They were the ones who started schools like we know them today.
  • Tonkin Free Schools were set up to offer a modern education.


Motive: The true motivation for this action was to exploit Vietnam’s natural and human resources.

Huynh Fhu One of them was a Buddhist scholar from the delta of the Mekong River.

His role in making people feel anti-imperialist:

  • Founder of Hoa Hao Movement: Huynh Phu started the Hoa Hao Movement, which was based on religious ideas that were common in anti-French uprisings in the 1800s.
  • Social reformer: He spoke out against the sale of child brides, gambling, and drinking alcohol and opium.
  • Struggle against foreign rule: When Huynh Phu So started spreading his religious ideas, he ran into a lot of trouble because most of the people who supported him were Vietnamese nationalists. The colonial government said he was crazy and put him in a mental hospital. They called him the Mad Bonze. The French government sent many of his supporters to prison camps, and they sent him to Laos.

Question 2. Explain the following :

(a) Only one-third of the students in Vietnam would pass the school-leaving examinations.

Answer: Chinese culture had a big effect on the education of Vietnamese aristocracy. To keep their control, the French had to fight against the Chinese influence. So, they tore down the national school system and put French schools for Vietnamese kids in its place.

  1. In reality, though, only the elite Vietnamese, who made up a small part of the population, were allowed to go to school, and only one-third of the students passed their final exams. This was because of a policy of giving students failing grades on purpose, especially in their last year.
  2. Since the Vietnamese students were failing, they couldn’t apply for the jobs that paid more.
  3. Because of this method, only about 400 people out of a total population of 17 million passed the test in 1925.

(b) The French began building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta.

Answer: France, like other European powers, thought that colonies were important for getting natural resources and other things that they needed. In the Mekong delta, the French dug canals and drained lands to make farming easier.

  1. A huge network of canals and earthworks was built with forced labour.
  2. Because of irrigation projects, more rice was made. Rice was sold all over the world.
  3. From 1873 to 1900, rice was grown on 1.1 million hectares, and in 1930, it was grown on 2.2 million hectares.
  4. In 1931, Vietnam exported two-thirds of its rice crop and became the third largest rice exporter in the world.

(c) The government made the Saigon Native Girls School take back the students it had expelled.

  1. Under the name of their “civilising mission,” the French used education as a way to “civilise” the native people. In school books, the French were praised, and colonial rule was defended. People thought that the Vietnamese were backward and primitive, and that they could only do physical work and not think. They could work in the fields but couldn’t run the country.
  2. Sometimes people spoke out against this kind of education system and its curriculum, and sometimes they didn’t say anything. In 1926, the principal of the Saigon Native Girls School, who was French and lived in the colonies, had a racist policy and told a Vietnamese girl to move from the front of the class to the back so that a French student could sit in the front. She was kicked out of school for refusing to do it. When angry students protested, they were also kicked out. As a result, there were open protests. As the situation got worse, the government told the school to bring back the students who had been kicked out. This shows that the Vietnamese were against colonial education and policies that were unfair to them.

(d) Rats were most common in the modern, newly built areas of Hanoi.

Rats were especially prevalent in Hanoi’s freshly constructed districts. The following are the circumstances that led to rats being abundant in modern Hanoi:

  1. When the French wanted to make Vietnam into a modern country, they used cutting-edge architecture and engineering to rebuild Hanoi.
  2. The French section of Hanoi city was beautiful and clean. It had wide streets and a well-designed sewer system.
  3. On the other hand, there were no such modern facilities in Saigon’s “local quarter”.
  4. The trash from this part of the city went right into the river or into the streets when it rained or flooded hard.
  5. So, what was set up to keep the French metropolis clean turned out to be the cause of the plague.
  6. The huge sewers in the modern part of the city, which were a sign of progress, were a great place for rats to live and grow.
  7. The sewers were also a great way for the rats to get around the city, as they could go wherever they wanted. So, rats started getting into French homes through the sewers. As a result, there were a lot of rats in the new suburbs of Hanoi, which spread the plague.

Question 3. Describe the ideas behind the Tonkin Free School. To what extent was it a typical example of colonial ideas in Vietnam?

Answer :

  1. Tonkin Free School opened in 1907 with the goal of giving students an education like those in the West.
  2. Some of the subjects taught at this school were science, hygiene, and French.
  3. According to the school’s philosophy, it wasn’t enough for Vietnamese students to learn science and western ideas; they also had to look modern.
  4. Students were told to follow western fashion trends, such as getting short haircuts.

It was a classic example of colonial beliefs in Vietnam because the school encouraged students to follow western trends like short haircuts, which were very different from their traditional long hairstyles. There was also a “haircutting chant” to show how important it was to change completely.

Question 4. What was Phan Chu Trinh’s objective for Vietnam? How were his ideas different from those of Phan Boi Chau?


  1. Phan Chu Trinh’s goal for Vietnam was to create a democratic republic.
  2. He was an outspoken opponent of the monarchy and didn’t like the idea of using the court to fight the French.
  3. He agreed with the French revolutionary goal of freedom, but he scolded them for not being able to live up to it.
  4. He asked the French to set up legal and educational institutions, as well as to develop the agricultural and industrial sectors.
  5. The ideas of Confucian scholar and activist Phan Boi Chau are different from those of Phan Chu Trinh in the following ways:

Phan Boi Chau 

  1. He said that the foreign enemy should be thrown out first, and then other things could be thought about.
  2. He thought that the monarchy should be used to help them get what they wanted.
  3. He didn’t want people to be trained to overthrow the monarchy.

Phan Chu Trinh

  1. He wanted to get rid of the monarchy so that the rights of the people could move forward.
  2. He was very vocal about his opposition to monarchy. He did not like the idea of using the court to fight against the French. He wanted a democratic republic to be set up. He was very influenced by the democratic ideas of the West. He agreed with the new idea of freedom in France and asked the French to set up legal and educational institutions and grow agriculture and industry.
  3. He wanted to get the people to rise up against the monarchy.

Because of this, Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh had very different ideas about Vietnamese independence and other things. They both wanted the same thing, but they went about it in very different ways.

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